Delicious in cakes, cookies, for garnishes, or dipped in chocolate, candied fruit is worth the effort.
Candying fruit is the relatively simple process of infusing fruits or citrus peels in a sugar syrup. Grapefruit peel, kumquats, orange and lemon rind, fresh cherries, and pineapple are all good choices for candying. But you don’t have to stop with fruit: slivers of candied carrot make a wonderful garnish for carrot cakes.
1. You will need a saucepan for Simple Syrup and one for blanching the fruit. We chose to candy orange peel, which we later chopped and added to a recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Orange Biscotti. First, remove the top and bottom from the orange.
2. Set the flat end of the orange on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, slice off the peel, following the curve of the orange as best you can. Avoid cutting into the flesh of the fruit. It is okay to keep the bitter white pith attached to the rind: the bitterness is tamed by blanching, and the pith becomes translucent and sweet during the candying process.
3. You can either candy the peel as is, for chopping and adding to a recipe, or you can slice it into even strips, about ¼-inch wide, for a more elegant presentation. (Chocolate-dipped candied orange peel is a treat, and is excellent for gift-giving.) Large peels, such as grapefruit, should be cut into smaller strips for faster, more even cooking.
4. Put the peel into a pot of cool, fresh water. Bring it to a rolling boil. Immediately transfer the fruit to a colander to drain. Repeat, bringing the peel and fresh water to a full boil. For oranges or other sweet-skinned citrus, such as Meyer lemons, you might only need one to three blanchings. For grapefruit, you might need seven or eight. (Cherries and pineapple chunks can go straight to the pot of simple syrup.) Taste the blanched peel: is it tender? Transfer the drained peel to the pot of warm simple syrup. Bring the syrup to a very low simmer.
5. Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the size of your slices, until the orange rinds become translucent and the peel tastes sweet and tender.
6. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool. The orange rind can be chopped and used in recipes, stored in the refrigerator for weeks in its sugar syrup, or drained and rolled in sugar. Sugared orange rinds will dry out quickly, however, so eat them within a day or two. To keep them fresher longer, dip the drained slices of peel in tempered chocolate.
Recipes for candied citrus peels:
Any extra syrup for can be used in other dishes or drinks. Orange-flavored simple syrup is delicious in tea. Use your homemade candied citrus peel in these recipes: